Atomium Grand Cru | Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

very good
83 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Atomium Grand CruAtomium Grand Cru

Brewed by:
Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.

Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAngel on 03-14-2003

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 83 | Ratings: 157
Photo of Gehrig
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I snagged Atomium Grand Cru at the sterling Sun Singer. Great presentation, with three fluffed-up fingers of white head topped a slightly cloudy orange body. The nose is fine but understated. Lots of fruit--orange, banana, and berry--and bready malt. The taste is fruity and smooth, though not as bold as top-of-the-line Belgians such as many of the trappists, or Delirium. It's good, to be clear, just not outstanding.

What differentiates this, and not necessarily in a positive way, is the mouthfeel. It isn't as though rich carbonation is a prerequisite of Belgian beer. Yet authentic Belgians usually have more carbonation than Atomium does, and it does much to enhance flavor and complement the rich texture. This could certainly use fuller carbonation.

This is a good beer worth having, definitely not one to reject by any means. It's good, not great and, given the numerous examples of lush Belgian beers, there are many better BSPAs available.

 954 characters

Photo of ybnorml
4.05/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A clean golden amber beer. Has a huge foamy white head with a little bit of lace.. The aroma has an overlying funky musty character with notes of honey, flowers and sweet candy wandering around. In typical Belgian fashion it is hard to nail down all of the flavors swirling thru your mouth. Honey, a soft malty note, hints of citrus, belgian candy sugar. All finishing with a smooth but prickly hop note on the finish.

 418 characters

Photo of Slatetank
3.92/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was served this ale at the abbey bar @ ABC's brewpub in Harrisburg. Poured cold from the 11.2oz w/ freshness date of 20/03/08 into two tulips.

A - The golden liquid has a faint haze of yeast and the white cap appears as whip cream on top and is airy w/ large gaps in the bubbles w/ a tight bead at the base. The beer took a long time to settle down to 3 fingers worth of head in one glass. As my bartender said it was quite volatile, but it was worth waiting for. The stickage is moderate w/ relaxed webbing of lace.

S - Like green apple and kumquat, heck the whole fruit bowl! w/ a light funk, gentle spice and ginger aroma w/ a peppery coriander and citrus rind odor.

M - Light and fruity on the tongue w/ a slightly oily and prickly feel from the major effervescent nature w/ spiced dry texture and a light metallic note. The grand cru finishes w/ a light sweet quality.

T - Nice spice and fruity flavors as in the aroma w/ a slight boozy and sour tinge w/ nutty wheat qualities. There is a nice herbal sweetness w/ the refreshment of of some lighter belgians and the abv is 8% so you have a 'cake and eat it too' situation since it is boozy but refreshing too.

D - Very nice, a grand cru makes me want to have more like this, I would be able to knock back a few w/ no problem since the abv is very well disguised in the taste.

 1,337 characters

Photo of chinabeergeek
4.13/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on-tap at deep ellum, allston, ma, served in branded chalice.

golden straw color with slight haze. lots of head that barely fades, and plenty of great, bubbly lace.

buttery and fruity (ripe pear?) aromas and slight herbal/grassy note. whiff of mint (?!)

you can definitely get a sense of the "multigrain" profile in the taste. deep ellum's tap menu said it had: barley, rye, wheat, buckwheat, spelt and maize. again, buttery with pears. mild and evenly distributed bitterness. finish is a bit empty however - almost watery, as if the taste crescendos right before and abruptly cuts off...

smooth, but slight watery feel as well. gentle carbonation.

very drinkable. watch out with the hardly noticeable ABV

 710 characters

Photo of ABCJiugui
4.17/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at Deep Ellum, in atomium chalice/goblet.

A- big rocky, 2-3 finger foamy head, retains to 1/2 finger or less, lacing is somewhat clumpy, but consistent in patches, clinging to the glass in larger bubbles. Straw golden, catches the light really well, fairly clear.

S- Poached pears, a little buttery, maybe fermented corn, preserved peaches. Very fruity nose overall, like a pleasantly mild mixed alcoholic fruit cocktail.

T- Fruity sweetness, very present, but not overpowering- overall pretty balanced and soft. Some butteriness, can't detect any real hop bitterness at all. Very pleasant to drink- finish is smoooth, fairly dry.

M- Smooth, initially think it's pretty full bodied, but it's delicate, with very little carbonation, leaving one feeling it's actually a bit thin. Overall, really really soft on the tongue and going down.

Overall, I was very happy with this beer- reminded me of don de dieu with its fruity profile, but with less carbonation. Had 2 glasses and was really surprised at the ABV- VERY well hidden, almost no sense of it until later when it takes effect. Definitely would get again on tap.

 1,132 characters

Photo of albern
3.46/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

The appearance of this beer is pretty amazing. What a light, frothy, soapy head that retains, retains, retains. The beer laces quite prodigiously and the thick, puff pastry head reminds me of egg whites battered up. The soapy lacing is pretty impressive as well. The smell is musty malt, some candied sugar banana, typical of a Belgian, and some yeasty unpleasantness as well. The consistency is medium bodied, yeasty, carbonated, and slightly dry. This is not your typical syrupy sweet, candied sugar Belgian ale with a banana/coriander backbone. This is slightly different. The good news is that the 8% ABV is very well masked, leaving none of that throaty burn very common with the style. The taste is not too terribly complex. What I'm getting is a slightly dryish, malty, straw tasting ale. There is a bit of a spicy bite, maybe a slight pepperish snap, some very subtle background fruitiness, a good deal of carbonated and yeasty efforvescence, and not much more. There is hardly an aftertaste. I'm not overly impressed, but I'm not disappointed either. There is a slight heaviness to the taste as the beer settles that leaves a musty pucker in the mouth. Not a bad beer but not one I'm returning to anytime soon.

 1,219 characters

Photo of klewis
3.28/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Best by: 09/20/08

A: A mountain of spongy and porous froth fills the glass with a fizz. A clear, bright golden hue. It's gonna take a while before I can drink this. Tons of sustain and lacing.

S: Smells sweet with aromas of honey, tropical fruits, and a slight Belgian spiciness.

T: Sweet and malty with a prominent hop character. The flavor is fleet and is replaced with a soapy character that is a bit unpleasant.

M: Light in body with tons of carbonation. Dry and soapy texture.

D: My initial impression of this beer was very good, but the harshness of the finish and mouthfeel make this one a bit hard to drink. I'll pass next time.

 641 characters

Photo of mfhlucky13
3.83/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The Grand Cru was yellowish gold with a huge head. It had a light yeasty smell with hits of sweet fruit. It's flavor continued with sweet fruit and a wonderful dry finish. After my first sip I wasn't convinced but by the third I began to really enjoy this ale. I had expected something different but was pleasantly surprised.

 325 characters

Photo of BeerBelcher
4.28/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I ordered this out of curiousity and was very pleasantly surprised by what I got...quite a bit lighter than other "Grand Cru" I've had, but not entirely inconsistent with other Beglian Strong Ales (like Duvel) I've enjoyed in the past.

It poured a light yellow color, with an impressive amount of effervescence. Tons of cumulus head that towered over the rim of my glass. Aroma was very light and sweet, with plenty of very zesty lemon flavor. You could sense the alcohol presence, although the beer tasted smooth and in no way astringent. Mouthfeel was extremely smooth.

Highly recommended.

I had a bottle of this at the Palm Tavern in Milwaukee. The bartender said they just got it, so I would assume my bottle was rather fresh (I forgot to check for a date code).

 769 characters

Photo of rmcandre
3.9/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Huge head. It took an impatient five minutes to pour this beer. The beer is honey colored and slightly turbid.

S: Fruit and yeast.

T: Sweet, fruity, and slightly yeasty.

M: Bubbly and thin.

D: Like it or not this is an interesting beer. It is a unique brew that will not bore.

 292 characters

Photo of tapman
3/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

What is a grand cru? I need to do some research, but soldiering on...

light orange and yeast-textured. Giant white, foamy head (mine was kinda cold in the beginning).

Bananas with a sweet alcohol aroma up front. Hint of apple juicy sweetness. The bitter, heavy yeast aroma is also quite strong.

Moderately bitter with an alcoholic grainy body. A sour, dry finish plants. Interesting with this brew, as it warms it becomes more bitter which overpowers the sweeter notes and takes away from the complexity of the brew.

The mouthfeel begins well enough, but with the previously mentioned giant head the lack of carbonation brings out the bitter which isn't so good as we remember from the taste portion of this review.

Overall its not too bad and you really can't taste the alcohol, well not true. You do taste it but since its from multiple grains and reflects that in the taste which becomes a part of the beer and is flatter than the taste of most alcohol. Still, there are many strong Belgium ales that do this better and actually improve with warming opposed to losing flavor. Meh.

 1,099 characters

Photo of pmcadamis
4.4/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A massive four-finger honeycomb head rises above a cloudy honey-hued brew turbid with chunks of yeast. The head sticks around for quite a while, and then settles at a thick cap. Loads of off-white lace are left on the sides of the glass.

S - Honey, clover, heather, and confectioner's sugar. Yeasty honey-drizzled warm home-made bread. Some banana, caramel apple, and peach are noticeable behind the yeasty goodness. Smells outdoorsy and fresh like laundry dried outside on a line....but also honeyed, bready, and yeasty.

T - Fresh warm homemade bread yeasty malt with baked apples drizzled in honey. Extremely fruity and honey-sweet. Banana and peach add a spritz of slightly tart balancing vibrancy to a very yeasty and sweet brew.

M - Ridiculously full bodied and thick with sugar. The thick syrupy viscosity of this brew is a continuation of the honey themed appearance, nose, and flavor. Chewy and solid with a bit of alcohol heat.

D - This is outstanding beer, but it's hindered a bit by the overwhelming sweetness. More of a dessert beer than something you would have two or three of.

 1,110 characters

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.3/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served at cellar temp from a 12 oz amber stubby into a 10 oz pilsner glass.

First attempt at a pour was all foam. 100% head, no beer.

Let it stand five minutes and tried again. Excellent pour of slightly cloudy (or heavily hazy) bright straw yellow. Erupting from the bottom of the glass--an undersea volcano of bubbles twisting into a reverse whirlpool, forming a slowly growing billowy, rock hard head of stark white foam.

Spicy aroma subdued because of the humongous head.

Slightly sour and spicy flavor; slightly bready, complex.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin, very low bitterness, effervescent from the extreme carbonation.

Technically a good beer when grading it piecewise, but not really refreshing or enjoyable overall, hence the surprisingly low drinkability. I had a second, but wouldn't buy it again.

 823 characters

Photo of jmc44
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass. Incredible crisp offwhite billowy head. Almost entire glass was head; for about 5 straight minutes until it subsided to a thick covering. Beer is a lightly hazy amber, quite effervescent.

Flowery, fruity smell that is a bit sweet and very yeasty. Theres some light hints of clove and spices in there, but fairly well hidden. Pleasant and not overwhelming.

A generally sweet taste, with clove, banana, and pepper; also some distinct apple-like tartness. Fairly well balanced, finishes somewhat smooth with a pronounced spicy hop characteristic.

Dry, crisp in mouthfeel, fairly light. The high carbonation makes it very crisp and easy-drinking.

Quite a good beer, a bit complex but easily drinkable on a warm summer day.

 768 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.98/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

For the first five seconds after a gentle pour, there wasn't a drop of beer in the glass, only ivory colored foam. Gradually, the all-encompassing head is being replaced from the bottom up by sparkling, radiantly amber liquid. Each subsequent pour creates a meringue-like beast that threatens to escape its glass confines. Most impressive... eventually.

Atomium doesn't smell like the list of ingredients would suggest. Apparently, this is 'the only beer in the world that is brewed with six different grains: barley, spelt, rye, maize, wheat and buckwheat' (never mind that the last of those is a fruit). That isn't what I mean, though. One source that I found says that Curacao oranges and coriander seeds are used. I sure don't smell them, but I do smell an impressive amount of yeasty horse blanket.

This Brouwerij Van Steenberge offering reminds me of the Flemish Primitive Wild Ale series from De Proefbrouwerij. It's a BSPA that gets the majority of its personality from its funktastic yeast strain. My first several mouthfuls tell me that isn't quite as well-constructed as the De Proef beers, but it's still unquestionably good.

Sun-ripened grain is mixed with crisp, tangy pears and a modest grassy hoppiness. If candi sugar was added, it wasn't added with a very heavy hand. I might be able to buy a pinch of coriander, but I don't get orange at all. The finish is impressively arid and is keeping me parched between mouthfuls.

While the mouthfeel isn't up the standards of the very best Belgian ales, it's just lightly creamy enough and just carbonated enough to be pleasureable. Rather than energetic followed by subdued, I'd like to see a more consistent level of bubblicity.

The Atomium is a metal sculpture (depicting a unit cell of an iron crystal) that was built for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Atomium Grand Cru is a delicious BSDA with a wild ale flair. I've just noticed that the label shows a depiction of the sculture, but uses beer barrels instead of spheres. This is an interesting ale that's worth a look if you happen to run across it.

 2,082 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.04/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On tap at Maduro. $3 for a massive Chalice. I hear there are 6 grains in here….interesting…

I immediately notice how fast the head dissipates and that the beer appears to be flat. This is somewhat misleading as there are plenty of minute, champagne like bubbles in there. They are just difficult to see. Unfortunately this will play out later giving the mouthfeel a deceptively flattish and overly light body. It’s not flat really just dead feeling. Head is initially two fingers thick but it disperses and shrinks to nothing quickly, no lace, no clinging, nada. The aroma is spicy and confused: fruity esters, bananas, coriander, pepper, powdery yeast, and honey. The flavor is dominated by yeast and booze. Very dry feel from the yeast. Granny smith apples and grapes, peaches and pineapple in the flavor. Muddled. Drinkability is low. I don’t find this beer cohesive and remember it being much better in the bottle.

 925 characters

Photo of
4.03/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Hop Leaf.

Hazy, light orange in appearance. Large, off-white head.

Aroma was hard to get (smoky bar issue). Seemed to be sweet and citrusy.

Taste was sweetened mandarin oranges. Some coriander. Floral hops at the finish to add a nice bit of tartness. ABV well hidden, but you get a little alcohol in there as well.

Light in body perception wise, but could be heavier (carbonation picked things up a lot). Carbonation seemed very high. A nice, refreshing drink.

Very enjoyable, I would certainly drink again. Would be a nice hot summer evening beer.

 582 characters

Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
4.06/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml stubby brown

-Supposedly the first beer made with 6 different grains

A-This beer has one of, if not the best, heads I have ever had the pleasure to see. I poured it into a Duvel tulip and there was barely enough room. This is the second bottle so I know it is consistant. The marshmellowy head seemed thick enough to stand on but light enough to be enjoyable. The lacing was unreal nd coated the glass. Body was light golden and clear (I left the yeast in bottle this time) with decent carbonation.

S-Definately heavy, raw Belgian yeast smell full of flowery and fruity esters.

T-Dry and crisp with a peppery spice. The corn used in this beer seems to be noticed in the semi-coarse finish. The bittering hops are noticable, especially in the foam, but very welcome. This seems like a nice dry Saison to me with hints of granny smith apples. Very nice if you are into the Farmhouse style.

M-Very light and refreshing with a full-flavored, but thin body. The spiciness of the yeast is a little sharp, but I personally like that characteristic. 8% abv is not even noticed until it warms its way to the belly.

D-Very nice change of pace and easy to drink. I have not had many like this and was very pleased with it. I would definately have this again and recommend it to others.

 1,298 characters

Photo of GbVDave
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in an Atomium goblet at Hopleaf 1/11/07.

A: Gold with orange tint. Pretty clear. Two finger head with sticky lace.

S: Aromas of sweet fruits and honey.

T: Flavors of bananas, clove, berries, honey, sweet grainy malt, and flower petals. Also detected flavors of tart apples in the lightly hoppy finish.

M: At first the mouthfeel is thin and dry. However, as it warms, it becomes full and creamy yet never quite loses that bitter, dry mouthfeel.

D: Very enjoyable balance between sweet and dry. I found this to be quite refreshing.

 553 characters

Photo of dirtylou
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2oz single, Riley's $2.99. Purchased because it was new and had a unique bottle

appearance: poured into la chouffe tulip...huge white foam attack that ends up looking like a bubble bath...body underneath is a cloudy orange-blonde shade...interesting

smell: strongly spiced - especially clove, herbal yeast, banana, peach, pear...decent

taste: not the best of the style i have had but a good beer nonetheless...banana and clove combo is strong, big yeast presence...fruit cocktail, pineapple, peach, pear, grape

mouthfeel: active yeast, foamy and clinging

drinkability: fine

 592 characters

Photo of maek228
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Looks good....a hazy gold with a brown hue. Good cling and a beautiful 4 finger head when a poured it

It smelled spicy with some hints of wheat and bread. Tasted spicy, with a sour apple/sour hop aftertaste that befits a strong belgian pale thing that bugs me is that the taste is kinda thin. this beer would benefit from a more full flavor. It feels kinda dull and flat.

This beer overall was a bit dissapointing. A medicore stab at a belgian

 461 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.78/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a chalice)

A- This beer has a hazy murky dark orange body with a thick creamy off-white head that last and last. It actually sticks to the sides of the glass as the head sinks in the middle of the glass. There is a good bit of lacing throughout the glass. There is no sign of carbonation in the dense body.

S- The smell of perfume and yeast has a faint apple hint to it. The smell is light and faint rather than mysterious.

T- The light spice note is dry with a faint apple finish. There are notes of green peppercorns and bitterness from hops in the finish. The taste is also light but there is not much depth. There are some faint hints of wheat and bread notes that have a slight earthiness as it warms.

M- This beer has a medium full mouthfeel with a high tight fizz that adds more body very nicely. It has the mouthfeel of a Hefe Weizen.

D- This beer reminds me of a wheat beer in appearance and mouthfeel but the taste and smell are much lighter and there is no banana, clove or coriander spices noted. Interesting but not the complexity I had hoped for with all the grains.

 1,110 characters

Photo of GreenWBush
4.31/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A six-malt beer? Interesting. You probably won't hear beer geeks bitching about the corn in this one if they taste it first and find out about the ingredients later.

Atomium pours into my brandy snifter a cloudy, darkened auburn. I picked this beer up out of town and during a sharp-stop on the drive home, the cap came partially opened, spilling a few drops out onto my backseat. Fortunately, this puncture-wound did not affect the flavor or appearance of this beer. Phenomenally powered head-presence that meringues way over the top of the glass like a hat. Patience is required before the first sip.

Initially, I get a strong yeast character; proofed yeast starter. Following that is an infinite underlayer of fruit that leans most strongly towards pear and apple-cider. Clove-like phenols. Orange, Curaçao, coriander, rose hips, and cracked pepper.

Fruit impressions carry over strongly to the taste as embodied by pears and peppered citrus. Earthen hop-zing synergizes with near-tart yeast twangs. Blend of malt-bill makes malt indistinguishable from flurry of spices and phenols, but maintains ephemeral and downright refreshing girth. Clean and compact.

Sits incredibly light on the tongue. Finishes spry, acidic, and addictive. Quenching.

Not exactly the most complex Belgian out there but entertaining enough and oh so drinkable for an 8% beer.

 1,371 characters

Photo of mdagnew
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

330ml bottle bought from

Poured a light golden yellow / bronze colour... Slightly off white head poured big and foamy and settled to a thin layer...

Aroma - Strong honey / malty sweetness with spicy hops underneath, vanilla creaminess, fruity (oranges, apricots), floral...

Taste – Light orange sweetness, creamy, spicy hop hints, grass / hay notes, peppery...

Feel - Creamy and quite sharp dry. Medium body... Pretty drinkable...

Overall - A top notch pale ale.... a nice surprise as i didn't kow much about this beer.... Highly recommended...

 576 characters

Photo of clvand0
3.95/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I really like the design on the label. Pours a cloudy yellow color with a small head that falls fast and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. The aroma is slightly sweet and has a lot of dark fruits that blend well. The flavor has some banana along with some dark fruit as well as a little wheat character. Interesting blend. The alcohol is well hidden and the drinkability is good. The body is light due to the high carbonation.

 432 characters

Atomium Grand Cru from Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V.
3.85 out of 5 based on 157 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.